The Falcons have benched quarterback Desmond Ridder. It might not sit well with him, but Ridder is saying all the right things heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings as the backup to Taylor Heinicke.
"Nothing’s changed [with his preparation]," Ridder said Thursday, via Scott Bair of the team website. "I’m still going to be the best version of myself, the best teammate I can be. I never want to be a negative person, a negative guy. I’m going to go do whatever it takes to help my team and help us go win."
But his position on the depth chart has changed, which means fewer practice reps and a spot on the sideline on game day.
Ridder started the first eight games and completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 1,701 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions. He left Sunday's loss to the Titans to be evaluated for a concussion, and although doctors cleared him, Ridder did not return to the game.
Ridder, who started four games last season as a rookie, said he will continue his quest for improvement as the backup.
"Those [efforts] will never stop," Ridder said. "It’s about me and trying to push everyone else around me to be better. That’s why we’re still doing the [player-led pass catchers' meetings]. That’s why I’m being the same guy I was seven days ago."
The Falcons have a roster capable of winning the NFC South, but the question remains whether they have a quarterback capable of winning the division. If they don't, the Falcons will have to figure out where to turn in the 2024 offseason to find one.